When a manager's reign reaches the end game he's very much at the mercy of short term luck.Good fortune is chalked down as just that,while the soon to be departing incumbent is held personally responsible for any bad luck that happens along the way.If Brown and Westwood hadn't engaged in a suicidal game of pass the parcel in injury time against Wigan ,Steve Bruce would likely have managed to hang on for a few more weeks at least.As things turned out as Di Santo was walking the ball into the net a week ago,Bruce was as good as walking through the gates of the Stadium of Light for the last time as a manager.A point against Wigan instead of an injury time loss,followed by a couple of back to back wins and Bruce could still have been in a job come May.
For newly appointed managers the scenario is completely different.Much like a President in his first 100 days in office he's immune from any association with even the most bizarre of bad fortune and he gets all the credit when good things happen.Martin O'Neill probably isn't any better a manager than Steve Bruce,but watching from the stands at Molineux a day after his appointment as Sunderland manager he saw his new side take a lead early in the second half and he was about to share in a stroke of good fortune.Wolves' manager Mick McCarthy had gambled on returning Jody Craddock to central defence and the veteran defender had produced a typically solid performance.However,his lunge as the onrushing Seb Larsson darted into the box on 72 minutes was ill judged.Craddock quickly withdrew his out stretched leg,but not before Larsson had taken advantage of the apparently unfolding foul and thrown himself to the turf to earn an undeserved penalty kick.Sunderland,already 1-0 to the good were strong favourites before the decision,they would average just under 2.4 points from their pre penalty position and caught in the twilight zone between award and kick their expected points jumped by an extra 3 ticks.
Wolves 2 Sunderland 1.
0-1,Penalty awarded to Sunderland,72'
0-1,Penalty missed by Sunderland,73'
A successfully converted penalty would have made Sunderland massive favourites to take all three points and possibly heap terminal pressure on Mick McCarthy's tenure at Wolves.But the vagaries of short term chance were about to spectacularly flip flop.Hennessey easily claimed Larsson's weak penalty,thumped the ball downfield and 26 seconds later,Fletcher's powerful header skidded high into the net.Wolves had gone from nearly down and out to marginal favourites in just 26 seconds and then eight minutes later Fletcher's second strike claimed an important victory for the old gold shirts.